Brookhaven city schools making progress in language, math scores

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2024

Brookhaven School District Deputy Superintendent Dr. Danny Rushing updated the School Board Tuesday on the progress of small groups of students targeted for improvement in language and math skills.

The district has three schools in the Title 1-A CSI or ATSI programs — Brookhaven Elementary, Lipsey Middle, and Alexander Jr. High. The Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) program and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) program provide helps for schools with low performance scores on English Language Arts or Math in certain small groups of students.

The schools recently completed the third of three benchmark assessments the district has to perform each school year. The third is completed in early spring in order to target areas where additional help is needed prior to state assessment tests.

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Rushing provided details for each school’s performances to school board members.

“Brookhaven Elementary showed a tremendous amount of growth,” Rushing said, focusing on the school as an example. BES’ first assessment for the year in reading showed 37 percent of targeted students at or above proficiency levels in reading, and 36.6 percent at goal levels in math. The third assessment showed growth to 42.2 percent in reading and 49.4 percent in math.

Lipsey Middle School principal Rita Robinson updated the board on her school’s efforts, especially the academic boot camps.

“Boot camps pull specific students to work on specific skills,” Robinson said. “We focus on their strengths.”

Rather than put the emphasis on getting these students to perform “OK” in all areas, Robinson said they emphasize improving their strengths first, because higher scores in those areas improve the overall score more than “average” scores across the board.

Boot camps will begin after Easter and continue until the day before state testing begins, and students “love the boot camps,” the principal said.


The board also approved its annual reorganization Tuesday.

The outgoing board president, Dr. Vernell Hooker, became a regular board member, having been reappointed for another 5-year term by the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen. Jason Childress was named president in his stead.

Erin Smith is the new vice president for the 2024-2025 school year, and Robb Massengill is secretary. Hooker and Patrick Brown are board members.

Smith’s term has ended as a district representative to the Mississippi School Board Association. Her term has ended, and Hooker has been named to the MSBA as a presidential appointee.

In other board business

The board approved the receipt of the following donations:

• $523.36 from Pike National Bank for FCCLA competition supplies

• $403.82 from Pike National Bank for Health Science HOSA supplies

• $845 from Mississippi Restaurant Association for the Brookhaven Technical Center Culinary Arts program

• 2 small-block diesel engines valued at $1,500 from Farmbelt Equipment for the Brookhaven Technical Center Automotive program

• $755 from Charities Aid Foundation America for playground landscape and heavy duty rugs at Brookhaven Elementary

The board also approved the transfer out of district for students who are children of certified teachers in other districts, for the 2024-2025 academic year.